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Mullins Puts In Valiant Effort at River Ranch GNCC
Mullins Earns 2nd at River Ranch GNCC
Factory FMF/KTM rider Charlie Mullins put in a valiant effort to finish 2nd overall just a wheel length behind the leader after a three-hour long battle for the win.
Mullins earned a 2nd place start behind Paul Whibley when the flag dropped and began his journey on a tight 3-hour long battle. Mullins and Whibley would trade the lead multiple times throughout the 7 lap race. Mullins first passed Whibley near the halfway point when Whibley made a mistake on the course. A short time later, Mullins also made a mistake allowing Whibley to pass and continue the battle. On the final lap Mullins trailed Whibley by approximately 5 seconds. With less than two minutes to go he put on a tremendous charge and caught up to the rear wheel of Whibley just as they crossed the checkered flag.
“This was a tough race today,” remarked Mullins. “Whibley set a good pace and he was hard to get around. The heat also played a huge factor and it was very challenging near the end of the race.”
Mullins’ teammates Cory Buttrick and Kailub Russell had their struggles in the XC1 class. Buttrick started well within the top five but had a few issues that set him back. He eventually finished in a solid 7th place overall. Russell crashed on the second lap of the race injuring his shoulder. He continued to ride for a few more laps to try and salvage points but eventually had to pull off on his fifth lap to seek medical attention. Medics informed him that it was not broken and with some rest this week he should be able to return next weekend.
In the XC2 class, reigning Champion Steward Baylor impressed again. Baylor turned the fastest lap of the race for the last three laps in a row. Baylor started the race in 20th position after coming together with another rider off the start. By the end of the first lap he was already in 4th place. Shortly after he moved into the lead and continued to pull out front. By the end of the race he had pulled a significant lead out in his class while also climbing to 3rd overall in all classes combined.
“I had a lot of crashes today. It was rough,” commented Baylor. “I didn’t realize how far up I had come and wasn’t sure if I was in the lead because I started so far back so I was really happy to hear how I finished. My goal is to overall a race this season and I am one step closer to reaching it.”
Also scoring a win for the KTM brand was Factory FMF/KTM rider Maria Forsberg. The first female factory rider won the first round of the series by 3 minutes over fellow KTM riderSarah Whitmore.
“It was definitely warmer than I expected today and the heat played a factor in my performance today,” said Forsberg. “Overall I am happy to walk away with a win today and hopefully carry the momentum to Georgia.”